Our roundup of the latest news from metro Detroit and Michigan businesses as well as announcements from government agencies, including updates about the COVID-19 pandemic. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message
United Wholesale Mortgage Sponsors MSU Men’s Basketball and Football Players
United Wholesale Mortgage in Pontiac says it will sponsor all 133 Michigan State University student athletes on the men’s basketball and football teams for the 2021/2022 season.
The sponsorship will provide athletes, regardless of position, with a $500 per month stipend for a full year, totaling $6,000 for every player.
The sponsorship is made possible by new NCAA rules allowing players to benefit financially from their name, image, and likeness starting this school year.
“The Spartan family sticks together, and that’s what makes MSU athletics so special,” says Mat Ishbia, president and CEO of United Wholesale Mortgage, a former MSU basketball player. “Each player contributes to the team in a positive way and we’re excited to help support them, while also helping educate consumers about the benefits of independent mortgage brokers.”
Ishbia says his experience with MSU athletics helped shape the team-focused business approach and leadership style at UWM, where values such as working hard, accountability, having fun, and giving back are part of everyday culture. UWM currently employs several former MSU athletes, including Mateen Cleaves, Charlie Bell, and Adam Wolfe, all of whom were on the 2000 national championship team with Ishbia.
“I was a star athlete and having access to resources like this would have made a huge difference in my career in a very positive way,” says Cleaves, leadership coach at UWM. “What UWM is doing for these Spartan athletes is unprecedented, and aligns closely with what Coach (Tom) Izzo and MSU taught us, which is to always take care of our family.”
In February, Ishbia donated a separate $32 million to MSU’s athletic program, the largest single cash commitment in MSU’s history from an individual. Funds from this donation are being used for the Men’s Basketball Excellence Fund, the MSU football program, a Spartan for Life Fund, focused on leadership and career development, and a MSU Athletics Excellence Fund, which provides flexible and unrestricted resources.
RWS Financial Group Offers Companies Free Fiscal Wellness Workshops
RWS Financial Group in Detroit is partnering with the Association of Financial Educators (AFE) to offer free workshops throughout the state of Michigan and northwest Ohio to help employees get back on their best financial footing.
As the largest financial educator in the region with 13 locations including virtual, RWS Financial Group is hosting the classes in conjunction with AFE, a nonprofit organization that is focused on giving back to the community.
AFE provides free educational workshops to companies of all sizes throughout North America. More than 150 different classes are offered that are designed to empower people to better manage their assets. Topics range from basic fundamentals like budgetin, to more advanced including estate and wealth management.
“Our goal is to teach over 10,000 employees within the next year on how to really reap the benefits of their hard work and create a solid plan for themselves,” says Nicholas U. Scarsella, vice president and director of business development at RWS. “We seek like-minded businesses that share these values as we grow and expand within the community to bring financial security through literacy.”
The no-cost workshops are designed for all individuals including those living paycheck to paycheck to others looking to learn about market trends. Each course runs up to 45 minutes in length and can be conducted either on-site or virtually, at no cost to the company. For more information, visit here.
Detroit Adds 700 Additional Speed Humps to Help Make Streets Safer
The city of Detroit today announced a second round of speed hump installations for 2021, bringing the total for this year’s program to 5,200.
Due to maximizing resources allocated to the 2021 speed hump program and continued resident demand, the Department of Public Works will be expanding the speed hump program to an additional 460 blocks and 700 across the city through Nov. 15.
Earlier this year, Mayor Mike Duggan announced the city would install 4,500 speed humps on residential streets across the city to help address concerns about speeding and safety.
“The speed hump program has been one of the most popular city programs we’ve ever announced and they really seem to be helping,” says Duggan. “We saw the opportunity to reach more neighborhood blocks with available funding, so we want to get them in before the end of this year, rather than wait until spring.”
Dayo Akinyemi, deputy director of the DPW, says, “We are proud to do our part in curtailing speeding and reckless driving, which has become a huge public health and safety concern. It’s important for residents to know our commitment to work with them and other departments to keep them safe while we simultaneously move to change harmful behavior.”
Residents can find out what blocks were selects by visiting the city website.
If a block wishes to opt out of the program, please provide a letter from your block club captain speaking on behalf of all residents on the block or signed petition by Sept. 22. Scan the QR code or click the link to the city website to submit the petition. All requests and petitions to opt-out for a speed hump must be submitted through the c website.
“If your block was selected as part of the initial program posted in March of 2021 and you still have not received your speed hump, it could be due to utility construction on your street or a need for resurfacing,” says Caitlin Malloy-Marcon, deputy director of Complete Streets for DPW. “Your speed hump is still forthcoming and will be installed when the street work is complete.”
The criteria for placing the speed humps include:
- Local residential streets with speed limit of 25 mph.
- Priority given to streets adjacent to active schools and parks.
- DPD records of speeding and vehicle crashes.
- Street used as known “cut through” to or from a major road.
- Block housing density.
- Significant number of children.
- Resident support on the block and valid request made.
Folktellers YA Series Inks Publishing Deal with Scribe
Folktellers Universe and Scribe Publishing Co., both in Royal Oak, have entered into a publishing agreement for the release of the first three books in Josef Bastian’s young adult fantasy book series, “Excerpts from an Unknown Guidebook.” The books will have full retail distribution through IPG.
“Book I: Phases of the Moon and Book II: Cave in the Rock,” will be updated and re-released, with the first title to be published in December 2021 and the second to be published in March 2022. “Book III: Shadows on the Silver Strings” will be released in October 2022 as the rest of the series unfolds. The revised series will premiere at the Motor City Comic Con in Detroit in October.
“Folktellers mission is built upon the art of storytelling,” says Steven Sadler, a Folktellers partner. “Our vision, ‘stories have power and are meant to be shared,’ fits perfectly with our Scribe’s mission and values. We’re excited and confident these books and this series will make a positive impact on the lives of people everywhere.”
The new publishing agreement follows the announcement earlier this year that a live-action TV series adaptation for kids ages 8–12 is in development with Peter Mohan (“Orphan Black,” “The Hardy Boys,” “The Listener,” and “Mutant X”) serving as executive producer and showrunner, alongside Bastion, Scott Paskoff, and Vanessa Shapiro — whose company Nicely Entertainment will handle global distribution. Season one of the series will be based on the first three books, “Phase of the Moon.”
“The ‘Excerpts from an Unknown Guidebook’ series has been designed to get kids excited about reading again,” said Bastian, creator of the Folktellers Universe. “The stories are short, exciting, and filled with creatures, monsters, and the adventures children and adults love. This major series release is another giant step in immersing our audience deeper into the incredible family-friendly universe we’ve created, with plans to expand the brand not only into TV, but also music, games, and other transmedia elements promoting children’s literacy and family entertainment.”
“Excerpts from an Unknown Guidebook” follows the adventures of a group of teen storytellers as they cross worlds and dimensions to fight the forces of darkness. It was ranked as one of the top fantasy series for young readers in 2020 by the Moonbeam Children’s Book Award with the second book, “Cave in the Rock,” earning a bronze medal in the Pre-Teen Fantasy Fiction category. “Cave in the Rock” also is the recipient of a Mom’s Choice Gold Award; and “Phase of the Moon” is a 2018 International Book Award Finalist.
“We’re so excited to partner with Folktellers Universe to expand distribution on these books and get them into kids’ hands everywhere,” says Jennifer Baum, founder and publisher at Scribe Publishing Co.
Children’s Heart Foundation to Stage Detroit Congenital Heart Walk Sept. 18
Hundreds of people are expected to take part in the Children’s Heart Foundation’s 2021 Detroit Congenital Heart Walk, 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. on Sept. 18 at Rochester Municipal Park in Rochester.
The walk directly supports the most promising congenital heart defect (CHD) research. CHDs are the most common and deadly birth defect in America, affecting approximately one in every 100 babies. The walk raises awareness of CHDs and raises funds to advance research in this area. Registration is free but participants are encouraged to create teams and fundraise.
For more information and to register for the walk, visit here.
Pistons Jerami Grant’s Hour Generation Foundation to Host Top Golf Classic Sept. 22
The Hour Generation Foundation of Detroit Pistons forward and Olympic gold medalist Jerami Grant is hosting the inaugural Jerami Grant Top Gold Classic starting at 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 22 at Top Golf Detroit at Great Lakes Crossing in Auburn Hills.
During the event, attendees will have the chance to interact with Grant and other Pistons players, play a round of Top Golf, and give back to the city of Detroit. Grant founded the Hour Generation Foundation to leverage his passion and resources to give back to those most in need.
The event includes three hours of Top Golf contender tournament-style play with live scoring, a Hole-in-One contest for a chance to win $10,000, and many other prizes. There also will be a fiesta buffet, silent auction, awards ceremony, bottomless soft beverages, and a cash bar.
To register for the event or to make a donation to the foundation, visit here.